"Always on top" isn't always on top


T

Tim Slattery

I'm running 64-bit Win7. I'm running the "Clock" application that (I
think) comes from (32-bit) XP. I have it set to be "Always on top".
But it frequently gets covered up by other windows. It doesn't
*always* get covered up. But fairly often I'll look for it and it's
been buried.

Is there a way to get this to work properly?
 
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A

Auric__

Tim said:
I'm running 64-bit Win7. I'm running the "Clock" application that (I
think) comes from (32-bit) XP. I have it set to be "Always on top".
But it frequently gets covered up by other windows. It doesn't
*always* get covered up. But fairly often I'll look for it and it's
been buried.

Is there a way to get this to work properly?
What's the filename? I don't see any "clock" app on my XP system, aside from
the one that sits in the tray.
 
R

Rob

I'm running 64-bit Win7. I'm running the "Clock" application that (I
think) comes from (32-bit) XP. I have it set to be "Always on top".
But it frequently gets covered up by other windows. It doesn't
*always* get covered up. But fairly often I'll look for it and it's
been buried.

Is there a way to get this to work properly?
Try the clock *gadget* - 'always on top' works fine here with that.
 
T

Tim Slattery

Auric__ said:
What's the filename? I don't see any "clock" app on my XP system, aside from
the one that sits in the tray.
clock.exe
 
T

Tim Slattery

Try the clock *gadget* - 'always on top' works fine here with that.
This is my office machine, and it's *very* locked-down. We don't seem
to have gadgets. Or maybe they're hidden someplace I haven't looked
yet.
 
A

Asger Joergensen

Hi Tim

Tim said:
This is my office machine, and it's very locked-down. We don't seem
to have gadgets. Or maybe they're hidden someplace I haven't looked
yet.
I didn't see any on my win7 64bit until I typed in gadget in the start
button search field, they are there in the standard installation.
 
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V

VanguardLH

Tim Slattery said:
This is my office machine, and it's *very* locked-down. We don't seem
to have gadgets. Or maybe they're hidden someplace I haven't looked
yet.
There is no clock.exe file in Windows XP. That app came from somewhere
else, like you downloaded it. Doesn't it's Help -> About menu say who
wrote it (so you could see if they have updates)?

If your workstation is locked down, why are you allowed to install or
copy software on it that is not on an authorized list?

Do any of the other apps for their window also try to stay "always on
top"? You could have apps battling for the z-axis position.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-order

I believe z-order is an attribute of a window object. So it's possible
on app could still change the z-order of a window for a different app.
Your clock app might not even be using z-order but a much clumsier
method of polling its focus attribute: if the window isn't focused then
make it so. That is, the app keeps trying to steal back focus.

For Windows XP (using TweakUI XP to create a registry entry), you could
configure Windows NOT to allow focus stealing. It would modify:

Registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Data item: ForegroundLockTimeout

Alas, every Windows version after XP ignores that registry entry so
focus stealing has been a long time complaint with Windows 7. MS devs
claimed that Win7 was not supposed to allow processes to steal focus
(and modified the flashing button behavior in the Windows taskbar) so
they removed support for this registry entry and assume it is always 0
(zero). By the way, zero was the value back in WinXP that *did* allow
processes to steal focus. Well, turns out they did NOT fix apps from
stealing focus.

Microsoft doesn't want to rely solely on a blinking button in the
Windows taskbar to notify users that a process wants its window to have
foreground focus. The example they provide is anti-virus software. Say
you start a copy operation for a couple dozen files. The AV scanner
finds one that is infected. It opens an alert window to tell you about
the infected file. If the AV's alert window couldn't rise its z-axis to
the top for you to see it, you would see the copy operation hang and not
know why. The AV's alert window would be behind Windows Explorer that
was doing the copy but is now hung because the AV scanner is pending
that file's copy operation waiting for you to make a choice (Ignore,
Delete, Quarantine). So "always on top" isn't an absolute window
positioning method.

I've heard of (but not used) a few utilities that attempt to alter focus
stealing and might work with your unidentified clock program. They are:

PowerMenu: http://www.abstractpath.com/powermenu/
Window On Top: http://www.skybn.com/
Deskpins: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/deskpins.html

Personally I'd check if the author of the unidentified clock program to
see if they have an update that uses a different "always on top" method.
 
E

Erik Vastmasd

I'm running 64-bit Win7. I'm running the "Clock" application that (I
think) comes from (32-bit) XP. I have it set to be "Always on top".
But it frequently gets covered up by other windows. It doesn't
*always* get covered up. But fairly often I'll look for it and it's
been buried.

Is there a way to get this to work properly?
If you still can't get it working try: Stoic Joker's T-Clock 2010.
<http://www.stoicjoker.com/TClock/Download.php>

It's free, I'm running the 64-bit version, 32-bit & 64-bit are included
in the download. It's configurable and sits in the system tray covering
the existing Windows 7 clock and starts automatically at Windows
startup.
 
R

Rob

This is my office machine, and it's *very* locked-down. We don't seem
to have gadgets. Or maybe they're hidden someplace I haven't looked
yet.
I know what you mean - mine is too. Try right-clicking the desktop
and look for 'gadgets' near the bottom of the pop-up, or type 'gadgets'
in Start, Search. Some handy stuff in those.
HTH
 
T

Tim Slattery

Rob said:
I know what you mean - mine is too. Try right-clicking the desktop
and look for 'gadgets' near the bottom of the pop-up, or type 'gadgets'
in Start, Search. Some handy stuff in those.
Neither of those work. I think the Powers That Be have killed gadgets
here.
 
T

Tim Slattery

VanguardLH said:
There is no clock.exe file in Windows XP. That app came from somewhere
else, like you downloaded it. Doesn't it's Help -> About menu say who
wrote it (so you could see if they have updates)?
I'm sure it comes from some version of Windows. It's a 32-bit app, or
else I couldn't run it at all on Win7-64. And "Help/About" yields
information about the OS, not the application. Unusual, to say the
least.

Lets see, right-click on clock.exe, Details tab:
Product name is "Microsoft(R) Windows NT(TM) Operating System, Product
version is 4.00, Copyright is "Copyright(C) Microsoft Corp.
1981-1996", Date modified is 11/23/1999 10:04 AM. So it came with some
version of some Windows system.
If your workstation is locked down, why are you allowed to install or
copy software on it that is not on an authorized list?
Because this is an extremely simple program that has no install
routine, so it never encounters the blocks that have been installed.
For Windows XP (using TweakUI XP to create a registry entry), you could
configure Windows NOT to allow focus stealing. It would modify:
I can't even view the registry, much less edit it. That part of the
"lock-down" is VERY effective.
 
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R

Rob

Neither of those work. I think the Powers That Be have killed gadgets
here.
That's rather Draconian. The default set of gadgets is:
Calendar, Clock, CPU Meter, Currency, Weather, Feed Headlines,
Picture puzzle, Slide show, Windows Media Center.
One would have thought allowing the first 4 or 5 would be acceptable
even to authoritarian IT departments. It could also mean they're
too inept to selectively disable some gadgets, of course. ;-)
Cheers,
 
Z

Zaidy036

If you still can't get it working try: Stoic Joker's T-Clock 2010.
<http://www.stoicjoker.com/TClock/Download.php>

It's free, I'm running the 64-bit version, 32-bit & 64-bit are included
in the download. It's configurable and sits in the system tray covering
the existing Windows 7 clock and starts automatically at Windows
startup.
At one time the Gadgets were identified as insecure and it was
recommended to disable and not use them.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

This or another third party program is probably the ultimate answer.
Per another remark of yours in this thread, it might be possible to find
one that is a standalone. You might want to add USB version or portable
version to your search string, since one characteristic of those is
exactly that they require no installation.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

That's rather Draconian. The default set of gadgets is:
Calendar, Clock, CPU Meter, Currency, Weather, Feed Headlines,
Picture puzzle, Slide show, Windows Media Center.
One would have thought allowing the first 4 or 5 would be acceptable
even to authoritarian IT departments. It could also mean they're
too inept to selectively disable some gadgets, of course. ;-)
Cheers,
OTOH, Microsoft has dropped support for gadgets because of (ahem)
security issues - or so I've been told.

Read the first sentence under the heading "Desktop Gadgets" on this
page:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/downloads/personalize/gadgets

The page is kind of vague in my opinion, but it does seem to indicate
that MS is losing interest in gadgets.
 
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E

Erik Vastmasd

At one time the Gadgets were identified as insecure and it was
recommended to disable and not use them.
I've had no problems with it.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I've had no problems with it.
Me neither. Well, a bug or two, but no security problems.

But it remains true that Microsoft, among others, has recommended not to
use Gadgets.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Me neither. Well, a bug or two, but no security problems.

But it remains true that Microsoft, among others, has recommended not to
use Gadgets.
I should add that I am still using several gadgets on my Windows 7
machine, so in fact I don't disagree with you.
 
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V

VanguardLH

Tim Slattery said:
Lets see, right-click on clock.exe, Details tab:
Product name is "Microsoft(R) Windows NT(TM) Operating System, Product
version is 4.00, Copyright is "Copyright(C) Microsoft Corp.
1981-1996", Date modified is 11/23/1999 10:04 AM. So it came with some
version of some Windows system.
Windows NT 4.0. You've been migrating that app from quite a ways back.
I don't have an install of Windows NT 4 to go look.
Because this is an extremely simple program that has no install
routine, so it never encounters the blocks that have been installed.
Well, it's not that well locked down. In some companies where I worked,
they ran a client on each of their workstations that did a software
inventory. It generated hashes of each file since filenames could be
the same (in different paths). If the program wasn't on the acceptable
list on the server, you got a visit from the IT folks that would
re-image your workstation. Usually you weren't there when they did it
so you wouldn't know of the change until you returned to your
workstation. They also "charged" your department for the re-image so
your manager would know if they got called a lot to do the re-image. At
some point, they didn't even have to physically show up. They could
re-image remotely (since all the workstations had clients for backups).
After your workstation got reset, you'd have to get your data from
backups. You then had to explain to your boss why you lost some of your
work files and why your department's schedule got behind because you put
software on your host that wasn't authorized. Some places REALLY lock
down their workstations.

Then you won't be able to install the mentioned software that tries to
enforce z-axis positioning on selected processes. You're stuck with the
long-time complaint regarding Windows 7 on focus stealing.

There are other clock programs that do not require installation. You
could probably leave them on a USB flash drive (assuming they haven't
locked down the BIOS to disable the USB ports). I'm still using an old
FreeWatch program that you merely have to copy wherever you want, like
you do with the old clock.exe file.
 

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